Thomas McKinless

The ‘Fun’ in Dysfunction, iPhone Confusion and the Sound of Silence: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Dec. 10, 2018

It was a non-stop few days of news in Washington with lawmakers grilling Google CEO Sundar Pichai about how iPhones work, a handful of farewell speeches in the Senate and Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Charles E. Schumer joining President Donald Trump and a stoic Vice President Mike Pence for a hectic Oval Office chat.

McCarthy Gives Hoyer a Gift on the House Floor

At the end of what could be Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s final colloquy together on the House floor (both move to new leadership roles next Congress) McCarthy presented Hoyer with a holiday surprise....
Watch: Senate Quickly Passes Sexual Harassment Bill By Unanimous Consent
 

The Senate passed a bill to overhaul the process for handling sexual harassment issues on Capitol Hill on Thursday morning. GOP Sen. Roy Blunt and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar worked with other Senate and House leaders on the final version of the bill, which easily passed the Senate by unanimous consent.

“This is going to be better for victims, and I’m proud that the Senate has come together on a bipartisan basis to get this bill done,” Klobuchar said shortly after the bill’s passage. 

‘I’m Gonna Miss Just About Everything:’ As Orrin Hatch Prepares to Leave Washington, Reflections on His Battles and His Wins
 

Longtime Sen. Orrin G. Hatch is retiring after nearly 42 years in the Senate, where he served as the chamber’s Pro Tempore since 2015. As he prepares to leave Washington, Roll Call joined the outgoing member for a tour of his Hart office, where he showed off his Book of Mormon, a rifle given to him by the NRA and a recent gift from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell....
Oregon Christmas Trees, Hatch’s Bacon and Tributes to Bush That Made Us Smile: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Dec. 3, 2018

“He placed great value on a good joke,” former President George W. Bush said of his father, former President George H.W. Bush, whose state funeral was held at the Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday. The younger Bush and former Sen. Alan Simpson gave heartfelt tributes filled with zingers about the 41st president's life.

And Speaker Paul D. Ryan entertained musings at the lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree about the pronunciation of the word Oregon, where this year's fir is from.

Watch: George H.W. Bush Lies In State in the Capitol Rotunda
 

The late President George H.W. Bush will lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda on Monday and Tuesday before a funeral service Wednesday at the Washington National Cathedral. 

“His life was a hymn of honor. His legacy is grace perfected. His memory will belong to glory,” said Speaker Paul D. Ryan at the ceremony. “God bless the 41st President of the United States.” 

Spanberger’s Lucky Charm on Office Lottery Day? A Scarf of All the Women on the 2018 Ballot 
Meet the New Congress

Friday was the House room lottery draw on the Hill, and several members-elect brought lucky charms to make sure they drew a good number to have their pick of offices. Rep.-elect Abigail Spanberger drew No. 11 while wearing a scarf depicting the dozens of women who ran for office this election cycle. "It worked," she told Roll Call after the drawing.

Human Podiums, Lead Trombone and Howling on the House Floor: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Nov. 26, 2018

It’s been a jam-packed week on the Hill, with testy floor debates, a human floor-chart podium and a member responding to being roasted by Jimmy Fallon. Plus, we have some bonus footage. While most of Washington was getting ready to leave for Thanksgiving on Nov. 16, the House found itself howling about a piece of gray wolf legislation....
Antonio Delgado Is for a Public Option, Renewable Energy and Restoring People's Faith in Democracy
Meet the New Congress

Democrat Antonio Delgado unseated incumbent GOP Rep. John J. Faso on Election Day, and will soon become the first African-American to represent New York’s 19th District. He comes to Congress with a legal background, though his opponents honed in on his years as a music producer in Los Angeles during the campaign. Delgado wants to make health care a priority in the 116th Congress, as well as restoring citizens’ faith and trust in representative democracy....
Watch: Pelosi Holds Victorious Briefing After Speakership Nod
 

House Democrats nominated long-time Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to be speaker for the 116th Congress, in a caucus vote Wednesday where no challenger materialized.

Veronica Escobar Wants the Firsts Out of the Way and to Get Busy Crafting Humane Immigration Bills
Meet the New Congress

Veronica Escobar is among the first Hispanic women elected to Congress from Texas. A progressive Democrat, the former teacher and mayoral aide plans to push for immigration, health care and environmental reforms once sworn in. She believes there’s less disparity between Republicans and Democrats on those issues throughout the country than Washington’s gridlock might suggest....
Hamming it Up in Don Bacon’s Nebraska Nook 
Office Space — Go inside members' offices to get a closer look at who they are

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., invited Roll Call to root around his Longworth office. The former Air Force commander showed off his military memorabilia and plenty of pig puns....
Ilhan Omar: Diversity in Congress Leads to Better Policy
Meet the New Congress

Ilhan Omar came to the United States from Somalia as refugee when she was a child. Earlier this month, she became one of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress. Omar talks diversity in the 116th Congress, Democratic leadership and priorities and more in Roll Call's occasional series getting to know the new members.

Watch: Jackie Speier Hears Newly Uncovered Jonestown Tape For the First Time
 

Forty years ago Sunday, a young Jackie Speier was shot and left for dead on an airstrip in Guyana, after helping her boss — Rep. Leo Ryan — rescue 25 cult members from a deadly cult commune known as Jonestown. Ryan was shot and killed that day, shortly before more than 900 members of the commune died of a mass suicide and murder. 

Speier, who has been a member of Congress from California since 2008, joined Roll Call to listen to recently uncovered audio of an interview her former boss conducted with a cult escapee, just months before Ryan was killed in the so-called Jonestown massacre.

New Lame Duck, Same Lame Congress: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Nov. 12, 2018

It’s a new day on Capitol Hill with the 2018 elections finally (mostly) in the past. Incoming members from across the country poured into D.C. this week for their first glimpse of their new jobs, while leadership elections began and incumbents returned to the House and Senate floors following a month of recess. See the video for Sen. Charles E. Grassley feeling shy, Rep. Liz Cheney talking about advice from her former vice-president father and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse deconstructing a Senate desk.

Watch: McConnell Does Not Intend to Bring Mueller Protection Bill to Senate Floor
 

The Senate will not be voting on a bill to protect Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller from being fired, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Friday.

Fellow GOP Sen. Jeff Flake called for the Senate to take action on such a bill Wednesday, shortly after Jeff Sessions’ departure from the Justice Department and the installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general.

DNC Chairman: Sessions Firing ‘In Some Ways Worse Than Saturday Day Night Massacre’
 

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez called the firing of Jeff Sessions and the installation of Sessions’ Chief of Staff Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general “in some ways worse than the Saturday night massacre.”

Perez said Thursday that Whitaker’s role assuming oversight of Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation “doesn’t pass the smell test.”